WASHINGTON -- Senator John McCain is demanding immediate action by representatives of Major League Baseball's players and owners to tighten the sport's drug-testing policy "to restore the integrity of baseball."
Expressing dismay over recurring reports of steroid abuse by some of the game's top stars, the Arizona senator repeated a threat he made before last season to legislate stricter rules if the sport does not police itself.
The long-simmering steroid allegations hit the headlines last week with reports of grand jury testimony in San Francisco that linked to steroid abuse by such stars as the game's all-time single-season home-run champion, Barry Bonds, and New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi.
In an interview televised Friday night on ABC's "20/20," the head of a nutritional supplements lab implicated in the story added the names of top track and football stars to those he said had used illegal substances. Victor Conte, head of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, said he did not know whether Bonds, who plays for the San Francisco Giants, had used steroids.
"I am dismayed, though not surprised" by the reports, McCain, Republican of Arizona and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said Friday in a statement.
He demanded quick action by Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, and the players' union head, Donald Fehr, to solve the problem. "To restore the integrity of baseball, Commissioner Selig and Don Fehr must meet immediately -- not merely by spring training as the commissioner has promised -- and agree to implement a drug-testing policy that is at least as stringent as the one observed by the minor-league program," McCain said.